Kombucha Hangover

I don’t know what Kombucha is.  Or at least I didn’t.  But I went in to a Planet Organic looking for something to eat that would make me feel healthy, and I ended up buying a raw organic drink called “Synergy” which has Black Chia in it and is a Kombucha drink.  I also bought a bag of organic apples (which were delicious).

I enjoyed the drink – it came in a 480ml bottle, and serving size was 240ml.  It is pretty low-cal so I felt I could drink the whole bottle.

I finished it and started feeling… drunk.  I knew enough about Kombucha to know it’s alcoholic, but less than 1%, and this is sold in a grocery store so I figured it must be less than 0,5%…  It wouldn’t make sense to me that I’d be drunk.

Anyway after some brief internet research I decided I must be feeling a “healing crisis” (source).  I have no doubt that my body is “toxic” as I’ve never done a cleanse or detoxified before.

This morning I woke up with a terrible headache, and I’ve been extremely emotional all day.

Has anyone else experienced this?  What should I do?  I wouldn’t mind detoxing with Kombucha but I cannot take these side effects for any length of time.  I realize I should cut my dose significantly if I continue, but I wanted to see if anyone else has had a similar experience.


Keeping lifestyle constant through transition is one of the hardest things.

One pattern I’ve noticed over the years is that it is extremely hard to keep up with healthy lifestyle choices when I go through a transition period in my life.

Sometimes I count on the transition as motivation – if I can just make it to the end of school, I will work out and get fit all summer / if I can just make it through the summer I will work out and get fit while I’m at school… I’ve been on both ends, starting off a new chapter with the best of intentions each time.

I’m at a new chapter in my life yet again.  This time I’ve been doing it right.  I’ve been watching my eating, exercising lots, and even losing weight.  Now I’m at another transition.  This time I’m graduating school, moving on from academia for the foreseeable future, and I’m not sure how to incorporate fitness/healthy living into my new routine.  I know that I have to, but I don’t know what that looks like.

So looking forward, I have to remember: fitness right now is a top priority, and there are no excuses for not keeping it up.

Here’s the plan so far:

  • Bike to work at least 3 times per week!  Make exercise part of the commute.  Soon enough it will be routine requiring almost no will power.  My only concern is I’ll be really hungry after the 25km ride (one way) and it’s really hard not to over eat when I’m really hungry!  It also means being intentional about meals and planning ahead for grocery shopping.  Any tips for meal planning?
  • Swim at least once a week!  If I can make time for a 2 hour swim each week and get 5km in the water, I would feel great about that.  I love to swim, and I really want to keep my “in-water” fitness up.
  • Start a strength training program by May 13 (my 24th birthday!).  I’m not sure what this means yet, but maybe I can hit up a core class at my gym, or maybe I’ll get into a weight-lifting schedule, or maybe I’ll do P90X or sign up for Cross Fit or something.  I don’t know yet (suggestions?). But I have to have started by my birthday.

What are your strategies for sticking to the program when your life/routine changes?

The bonuses of weight loss. More than just the number on the scale.

When people talk about weight loss, there’s a divide in opinion.  So many people say to disregard what the scale says and focus on other factors that have more of an impact on your happiness.  I personally find the numbers on the scale highly motivating.   It scares me that I may in fact be  a “numbers person”.  I’m still never going into accounting.

But as of late, I’m finding that many non-number benefits are stacking up, and honestly, it feels pretty great.

The scale tells me I’ve lost 25 lbs.  My weigh-in history tells me that I’m lighter than I’ve been since 2010 – a fact that surprises me, but shouldn’t.  I’m really happy with this progress, and the speed that it is occurring.  It’s a relatively moderate pace but I think it’s maintainable and I just keep telling myself that I just have to keep going.  My goal is to get to 188 lbs which is another 46 lbs away.  A long way to go, but I’m more than a third of the way there!

The non-scale variables have been adding up as of late!  Here’s a quick summary:

  • People are commenting on my weight loss!  A good family friend says I’m looking fit, one of my fiancee’s dancer friends says she doesn’t recognize me, and my future mother in law is telling random strangers that I’ve lost “a tonne of weight”.
  • My jeans are too big for me – I had to go shopping and buy some jeans that fit my new smaller waist-line
  • I fit into my High School graduation suit.  I can’t believe I’ve come that far, in fact I had thought that I would never fit that suit again.  But it fits and looks and feels great.
  • I fit into clothes at Lulu Lemon and the Gap.  I used to hate shopping and avoid trying on clothes at any store especially trendy ones because I knew nothing would fit with fewer than three X’s.  I found the experience demoralizing and uncomfortable.  But now my fiancee is encouraging me to try new clothes, and I love them.  They make me look and feel great.
  • I can tie the gym towels around my waist. I always hated the gym towels – I made fun of them for being ridiculously small, and when I walked to the shower I would have to hold both ends of the towel in one hand to keep it on.  Now I can tie the towel around my waist and comfortably walk to the showers, hands free!
  • I feel happier.  I saw a counselor six months ago for depression and to work on my binge eating.  He simply told me that exercise 3 times a week is as effective as most pharmaceutical anti-depressants.  I’m feeling happier, healthier, and way less bingier.

All in all, my life is improving from this weight loss journey.  I’m enjoying the process, and it’s amazing that I’m starting to enjoy the results of it, too.  I hope that the next time I feel discouraged or I fall out of my healthy-living routine that I can look back and remember all the benefits of committing to a lifestyle change and be motivated by this feeling.

What are some of the things that you notice when you get healthier?  Are you more motivated by the numbers on the scale or the other factors?

A reflection on Easter Dinner & Holiday Meals: Where diets go to die.

Ah, Easter.  The bane of my diet.  I went in with the best of intentions, and went out with the worst of results.  To be clear, the day I’m talking about was March 29, Good Friday, which was when my family had their big Easter dinner.

I don’t know why I find holidays so hard.  Partly I think this day was the first day off I’ve had in months – if you can call it that.  I woke up in Okotoks in the morning  as we had to attend the Good Friday church service that Jocelyn was playing at, and after we went to a marriage prep course.  Jocelyn’s parents are amazing and made us delicious whole grain, flax seed waffles which were amazing, but it’s always hard to start off a day with a 700 calorie hit just from Breakfast.

Throughout the day, we had to go all over town doing errands, and we kept stopping places for snacks.  First it was Starbucks where we succumbed to the delight of Cake Pops.  Then we were near Crave Cupcakes which we never are and decided it would be a fantastic idea to split 6 mini cupcakes – to get the full experience of the different flavors.  It was amazing.  But by the time I arrived at my parents’ house for Easter Dinner, I had already used up my 1700 calories for the day.  And I hadn’t exercised, so I did not earn any extras.  And it was Easter, so I ate Easter dinner.   After dinner, we impulsively went to a movie where I ate popcorn (a moderate amount, for me haha).

All in all, this totally overboard day put me back a total of 4031 calories.  Which felt good in a way, because I love food and I love to eat.  But it was a surplus of 2381 calories which amounts to almost 0.7 lbs of fat gained in one day.

So I’m conflicted.  Was it worth it to have a day of shameless cheating on my diet, or is it something to be ashamed of and avoid in the future?  What is a good excuse for going morbidly over my calorie goal?  I feel like a cupcake?  I really want to see a movie?  It’s Easter?

For now, I’m not going to let myself be bothered by this one bad day, as long as this type of day doesn’t occur too frequently.

What caused my plateau? How can I overcome it?

I’ve been in a plateau since February 15, and it is incredibly discouraging.  As I have mentioned this weight loss effort is the most recent in a long line of weight loss efforts.  This time started out very encouraging, with rapid weight loss at the start totaling 16 pounds lost in about 20 days.  Admittedly, this is fast, and I should be (and am) happy with that success.  However, the last 20 days I haven’t been able to move that number any lower, and it is very demotivating.

So what is causing the plateau?  Let’s look at my food and exercise diary from Feb 12 to now, to see what is going on.

Date Consumed Burned BMR Net
12-Feb-13 1,891 182 2156 -447
13-Feb-13 2,287 280 2156 -149
14-Feb-13 2,618 2156 462
15-Feb-13 2,163 500 2156 -493
16-Feb-13 2,961 334 2156 471
17-Feb-13 2,373 2156 217
18-Feb-13 2,439 585 2156 -302
19-Feb-13 1,923 2156 -233
20-Feb-13 3,056 780 2156 120
21-Feb-13 2,941 1,002 2156 -217
22-Feb-13 2,312 2156 156
23-Feb-13 2,369 390 2156 -177
24-Feb-13 1,785 2156 -371
25-Feb-13 2,323 501 2156 -334
26-Feb-13 2,199 565 2156 -522
27-Feb-13 3,150 170 2156 824
28-Feb-13 2,082 2156 -74
01-Mar-13 2,567 642 2156 -231
02-Mar-13 2,064 2156 -92
03-Mar-13 1,921 1,328 2156 -1,563
04-Mar-13 2,890 774 2156 -40
TOTAL NET -2,995


The evidence is clear!  Even though I have days like March 3 where I know I’ve burned more calories than I’ve consumed, I also have days like February 27, where I am way over on calories.  The two days cancel out for maintaining weight, but clearly my weight loss progress has stopped for non-mysterious reasons!

All in all I have achieved a total net deficit of 2,995 calories.  The theory is that it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound.  My ideal weight loss program achieves losses of 2 pounds per week, which amounts to a 1000 calorie deficit every day.  At this rate I’m getting a 1000 calorie deficit every 10 days, for a weight loss projection of 2 pounds every 10 weeks!

So, a change must be made.

I guess moving forward I feel better about the plateau because I didn’t feel like it was justified, but now that I look at the data I realize it’s the result of my choices.  I’ve been exercising well, that’s the good news.  What I need to work on is keeping my diet in control.  I need to exercise my willpower.

Thanks for reading, and good luck overcoming your plateaus!

Chinese food is possibly the most calorie intensive food in existence. Yikes!

Chinese food will have to fall under the “very occasional” category from now on. Sad when it tastes so good. But I’m also finding my body is more sensitive to feeling good/bad based on what I’m eating.

Is it possible that before I was being health minded my body just felt bad all the time? And now I just notice by contrast because I’m eating better overall? Makes sense to me.

Well Chinese food, it’s been a good run. But I think the time has indeed come to say goodbye.


Man, brunch is a beast!  Everyone loves brunch, but I’m trying to lose weight here.

I have had brunch in the last two weeks and it has been as educational as it has been calorie intensive.  Both instances I was very conscious about what went on my plate.  I held back.  Were I not trying to lose weight, man would that buffet had suffered.

On my first foray into brunch this month here is what my meal looked like:


Total Calories: 1,031

Wow!  That’s a lot of calories for one meal.  Especially when I felt like I really held back.  I mean, who wouldn’t want an ENTIRE plate of waffles, and an ENTIRE plate of eggs and sausage and beef and potatoes PLUS fruit PLUS dessert?  I’m salivating.  Brunch buffets are like Hotel California.  “This could be heaven or this could be hell”.

Determined to learn from my mistakes, I vowed to be smarter the second time around.  I would avoid Eggs Benedict. I would fill up on vegetables.  I would try to avoid “throw away” calories on things I don’t really want.  Here’s how it looked:


Total Calories: 1,375


Brunch is hard.

What I did differently though in the second instance, was I didn’t eat breakfast before hand, whereas on the first day I had eaten a 500 calorie meal of oatmeal and banana. So although I ate 300 calories more on day 2, I ended up much more favorable in the net-calories department at the end of the day.

A weird quirk of dieting is that although I’m at a net calorie deficit at the end of each day I’m actually starting to feel less hungry than when I was eating 3500 calories a day and not even caring.  It’s funny how life in moderation can end up being more satisfying.

Happy dieting, friends!

(Images from http://www.myfitnesspal.com)